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How to Prevent Dry Winter Skin

Prevent Dry Winter Skin

It’s common for your skin to feel dry in the winter. Between low humidity outside and a heat increase inside, you’re fighting a battle with transepidermal water loss (TWEL), also known as dehydration. Due to these changing conditions, the water within your skin actually leaves the epidermal surface. The dry air pulls it out through osmosis until you’re left with tight, flakey skin. It can feel rough to the touch, appear red in spots, and make you itch like crazy. Some even experience a stinging sensation. Add this to the effects of aging or sun-damage, and the appearance of your skin can be disheartening.

Throughout the rest of the year, barrier function lipids in the epidermal skin fight off dehydration. They’re a fatty complex that act as “mortar between the bricks,” preventing water from leaving and irritants from entering. In the wintertime, however, strong gusts of cold wind and dry air damage the lipids, preventing them from protecting your skin. When the lipids are broken down, your skin becomes chapped and inflamed. Many people begin to cleanse or exfoliate their skin more than usual in hopes to refresh the skin, but this only makes it worse. Instead, follow the suggestions below.

1. Apply moisturizer in the morning and at night. This helps restore the barrier function lipids in the skin which in turn will lock in your skin’s moisture content.

2. Avoid heavily foaming cleansers, soaps, and other bath products. The detergent that makes them foam removes sebum from your skin’s surface. The less sebum you have, the drier your skin. Look for cleansers with decyl glucoside. It’s one of the gentlest cleansing agents for dehydrated or sensitive skin.

3. Avoid products with fragrances and perfumes. They can irritate your already delicate skin.

4. Try not to bathe/shower more than once a day. Too much bathing can strip your skin of natural oils that help trap water in your epidermal skin.

5. When bathing/showering, do so in lukewarm water rather than hot water. Hot water can inflame irritated skin.

6. After bathing/showering, immediately apply moisturizer while the skin is still damp. This traps moisture from your (hopefully) lukewarm shower in your skin’s surface.

7. When going outside in cold temperatures, wear protective clothing. This includes a scarf or ski mask to protect your face. As mentioned earlier, the strong, cold winds will break down your skin’s protective barrier function lipids, making it susceptible to dehydration.

The winter months can be beautiful. Freshly fallen snow, frozen lakes for skating, and sitting by the fireplace. The harmful effects it can have on your skin, however, are not. It’s never too late to protect your skin from more damage, and who knows how long this winter weather will last, so start protecting your skin from drying out today.

Associated Skin Care Professionals

19-03-15 | 0 comments | in Health, Skin Care

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